|Publication number||US7249783 B2|
|Application number||US 11/087,476|
|Publication date||Jul 31, 2007|
|Filing date||Mar 23, 2005|
|Priority date||Mar 23, 2005|
|Also published as||US20060214406|
|Publication number||087476, 11087476, US 7249783 B2, US 7249783B2, US-B2-7249783, US7249783 B2, US7249783B2|
|Inventors||David W. Parkinson, Earl H. Nelson, Bradley W. Smith|
|Original Assignee||Autoliv Asp, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Referenced by (25), Classifications (12), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to the field of automotive protective systems. More specifically, the present invention relates to inflatable airbags for automobiles.
Understanding that drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:
Described below are embodiments of methods and apparatus for inflating an airbag with a tether release system. In one embodiment of the invention, first and second inflators are connected with a module housing and positioned to inflate an inflatable cushion. The first and second inflators each have at least one exit gas port. A tether capture member is connected with the module housing and is adapted to hold a tether, which is connected with the inflatable cushion. The tether capture member is also adapted to release the tether upon deployment of one of the inflators, such that the exit gas flow from the inflator causes the release of the tether.
Thus, this embodiment allows for partial inflation of an airbag or full inflation of the airbag. Partial inflation of the airbag may be achieved by restricting the inflation size of the airbag with one or more tethers and by leaving undeployed the inflator operatively connected with the tether. Full inflation may be achieved by deployment of the inflator operatively connected with the tether such that the tether no longer restricts the inflation size of the airbag.
Of course, full deployment may be achieved by deploying all, or less than all, of the available inflators. Accordingly, in an embodiment with two inflators, full deployment may be achieved by deploying both inflators or, alternatively, by deploying only the inflator operatively connected with the tether. Likewise, partial deployment may be achieved by deploying any number of inflators up to one less than the total number of inflators available (the inflator operatively connected with the tether should not be deployed to achieve partial deployment, so as to leave the tether in a position in which it can restrict the inflation size of the airbag). For example, in an embodiment with two inflators, partial deployment would be achieved by deploying just one of the two inflators (the inflator not operatively connected with the tether).
Partial deployment of an airbag 10 with an internal tether 20 is shown in
One embodiment of the invention will now be described in greater detail with reference to
A tether capture member 140 is attached to module housing 110 at end 142. Tether capture member 140 is adapted to have a first configuration wherein the tether capture member holds a tether and a second configuration wherein the tether is released from tether capture member 140. This allows an airbag system incorporating this embodiment of the invention to deploy variably, both with respect to the volume and/or shape of the airbag cushion. Maintaining the tether capture member in its first configuration allows the tether to restrain the size and/or shape of the airbag upon deployment, whereas reconfiguring the tether capture member such that it is in the second configuration allows the airbag cushion to fully inflate. Of course, more than one tether and/or more than one tether capture member may be used to customize deployment characteristics as desired for any number of applications.
In the embodiment shown in
As can be seen in the figures, band 140 is flexible, which allows it to be wrapped around second inflator 130. Band 140 also covers one or more of the exit gas ports 135. Pin 146 is inserted into a capture component 150. Capture component 150 releasably holds tether capture member 140 in place. Capture component 150 in the accompanying figures is integrally formed as part of module housing 110. However, capture component 150 may instead be formed separately and attached or otherwise connected with the module.
Tether capture member or band 140 is adapted to hold a tether 160 connected with an inflatable cushion (not shown), as can be seen from the figures. Tether 160 is an example of means for restraining the inflation size of an inflatable cushion. Band 140 is an example of means for holding the restraining means in a position in which it restricts the inflation size of an inflatable cushion. Tether 160 is looped at one end and tether loop 165 is connected with pin 146, which is held by capture component 150.
Tether capture member or band 140 is adapted to release tether 160 upon deployment of second inflator 130. Specifically, the inflation module is configured such that the exit gas flow from second inflator 130 causes the release of tether 160. Thus, pin 146 fits within capture component 150 in the first configuration of tether capture member 140 and is removed from capture component 150 in the second configuration of tether capture member 140.
Upon deployment of second inflator 130, exit gas flow from one or more exit gas ports 135 forces band 140 away from second inflator 130, thereby pulling pin 146 out of capture component 150. Once pin 146 has been pulled from capture component 150, tether loop 165 is no longer looped around pin 146 and tether 160 no longer restricts the inflation size of the airbag cushion (not shown), as depicted in
Another embodiment of the invention is shown in
Upon deployment of second inflator 230, inflation gas causes tether capture member 240 to pivot at hinged region 244 and pull pin 246 from capture member 250, thereby releasing tether 260 and allowing the airbag (not shown) to fully inflate. Tether capture member 240 is shown pivoted away from second inflator 230 in phantom in
Still another embodiment is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5A-5B. In these figures, an inflation module 300 is depicted. Inflation module 300 includes housing 310, which holds first inflator 320 and second inflator 330. Tether capture member 340 in this embodiment comprises a rod. Rod 340 may be pivotally coupled at a first end 342 to a bracket attached to housing 310. Rod 340 may be configured to pivot vertically, as shown, or in any other manner, such as horizontally.
A capture component 350, which is connected with housing 310, includes a capture base 351 and a capture rocker 352. Capture base 351 may include a pair of opposing apertures 353, which are adapted to receive a pair of opposing flanges 354, one of which may be seen in
The second end 344 of rod 340 may rest on or partially nest within capture base 351. Clip member 359 engages second end 344 of rod 340 and retains rod 340 in a fixed position for tether retention. As shown in
Plate member 355 is configured to receive the impact of the exhaust gas from inflator 330. Once inflator 330 has been deployed, the force of the inflation gas against plate member 355 causes capture rocker 352 to rock or pivot sufficient to disengage clip member 359 from its position of retention against rod 340. Rod 340 is thereby disengaged at its second end 344 and pivots freely about its first end 342, as shown in
The above description fully discloses the invention including preferred embodiments thereof. Without further elaboration, it is believed that one skilled in the art can use the preceding description to utilize the invention to its fullest extent. Therefore the examples and embodiments disclosed herein are to be construed as merely illustrative and not a limitation of the scope of the present invention in any way.
It will be apparent to those having skill in the art that changes may be made to the details of the above-described embodiments without departing from the underlying principles of the invention. Embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows. Note that elements recited in means-plus-function format are intended to be construed in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶6.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US5887894 *||Mar 5, 1996||Mar 30, 1999||Autoliv Development Ab||Safety arrangement for a motor vehicle|
|US6076854 *||Dec 16, 1998||Jun 20, 2000||General Motors Corporation||Air bag assembly with selectively variable volume|
|US6299203 *||Feb 3, 1998||Oct 9, 2001||Inova Gmbh Technische Entwicklungen||Airbag device in a vehicle and method for activating an airbag device|
|US6454300||Feb 12, 2002||Sep 24, 2002||Delphi Technologies, Inc.||Air bag tether release assembly|
|US6513835 *||Mar 26, 2001||Feb 4, 2003||General Motors Corporation||Automotive vehicle air bag system|
|US6581964 *||May 18, 2001||Jun 24, 2003||Trw Automotive Safety Systems Gmbh & Co. Kg||Gas bag module|
|US6616184 *||Apr 25, 2001||Sep 9, 2003||Trw Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.||Vehicle occupant protection apparatus with inflation volume and shape control|
|US6918614 *||Apr 8, 2003||Jul 19, 2005||Delphi Technologies, Inc.||Inflation assembly for variable profile air bag|
|US7021657 *||Nov 8, 2002||Apr 4, 2006||Delphi Technologies, Inc.||Air bag including variable tethers|
|US20040046376||Apr 8, 2003||Mar 11, 2004||Ryan Shawn G.||Inflation assembly for variable profile air bag|
|US20050057027 *||Sep 15, 2003||Mar 17, 2005||Trw Vehicle Saftey Systems Inc.||Actuatable fastener|
|US20050057030 *||Sep 15, 2003||Mar 17, 2005||Trw Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.||Air bag with active tear stitch tethers|
|US20050161922 *||Feb 10, 2005||Jul 28, 2005||Arc Automotive, Inc.||Compact multi-level output gas generator|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7448646 *||Nov 4, 2005||Nov 11, 2008||Ford Global Technologies, Llc||Airbag system for out-of-position occupant protection and adaptive venting|
|US7510212 *||Mar 26, 2007||Mar 31, 2009||Autoliv Asp, Inc.||Airbag tether cutter and vent closer|
|US7690681||Oct 20, 2008||Apr 6, 2010||Ford Global Technologies, Llc||Airbag system for out-of-position occupant protection and adaptive venting|
|US7695014 *||Feb 27, 2007||Apr 13, 2010||Autoliv Asp, Inc.||Occupant restraint system|
|US7823921 *||Sep 26, 2007||Nov 2, 2010||Honda Motor Co., Ltd.||Airbag system for motorcycle|
|US7841623 *||Feb 16, 2009||Nov 30, 2010||Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha||Airbag device|
|US7938444||Oct 14, 2008||May 10, 2011||Autoliv Asp, Inc.||Mounting bracket for tether release mechanism|
|US8226119||Oct 19, 2009||Jul 24, 2012||GM Global Technology Operations LLC||Continuously variable deployment airbag|
|US8353525||Mar 23, 2011||Jan 15, 2013||Autoliv Asp, Inc.||Pyrotechnic tether release assembly with a break-away piston for inflatable airbags|
|US8408584||Mar 23, 2011||Apr 2, 2013||Autoliv Asp, Inc.||Pyrotechnic tether release assembly for inflatable airbags|
|US8408585||Mar 22, 2012||Apr 2, 2013||Autoliv Asp, Inc.||Pyrotechnic tether release assembly for inflatable airbags|
|US8419058||Sep 17, 2010||Apr 16, 2013||Trw Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.||Dual volume air bag|
|US8544883||Feb 23, 2011||Oct 1, 2013||Trw Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.||Tear stitching for inflatable vehicle occupant protection devices|
|US8632095||Apr 25, 2011||Jan 21, 2014||Trw Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.||Air bag with adaptive tether|
|US20070102911 *||Nov 4, 2005||May 10, 2007||Ford Global Technologies, Llc||Airbag system for out-of-position occupant protection and adaptive venting|
|US20080079242 *||Sep 26, 2007||Apr 3, 2008||Honda Motor Co., Ltd.||Airbag system for motorcycle|
|US20080203716 *||Feb 27, 2007||Aug 28, 2008||Autoliv Asp, Inc.||Occupant restraint system|
|US20080238050 *||Mar 26, 2007||Oct 2, 2008||Green David J||Airbag tether cutter and vent closer|
|US20090039629 *||Oct 20, 2008||Feb 12, 2009||Ford Global Technologies, Llc||Airbag system for out-of-position occupant protection and adaptive venting|
|US20090267326 *||Feb 16, 2009||Oct 29, 2009||Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha||Airbag device|
|US20100090445 *||Oct 14, 2008||Apr 15, 2010||Autoliv Asp, Inc.||Mounting bracket for tether release mechanism|
|US20100109306 *||Oct 19, 2009||May 6, 2010||Gm Global Technology Operations, Inc.||Continuously variable deployment airbag|
|US20110031723 *||Sep 17, 2010||Feb 10, 2011||Trw Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.||Dual volume air bag|
|US20110140401 *||Feb 23, 2011||Jun 16, 2011||Trw Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.||Tear stitching for inflatable vehicle occupant protection devices|
|US20110198828 *||Apr 25, 2011||Aug 18, 2011||Trw Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.||Air bag with adaptive tether|
|U.S. Classification||280/743.2, 280/736|
|Cooperative Classification||B60R21/261, B60R2021/2633, B60R2021/23384, B60R21/2338, B60R21/217, B60R2021/26058|
|European Classification||B60R21/261, B60R21/2338, B60R21/217|
|Mar 23, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AUTOLIV ASP, INC., UTAH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:PARKINSON, DAVID W.;NELSON, EARL H.;SMITH, BRADLEY W.;REEL/FRAME:016413/0787;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050223 TO 20050224
|Jan 18, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Dec 29, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8